At Uke4Kids we don’t demand that our students practise between lessons. Lots of our students want to play at home, and some do not. As with swimming, dance, karate and other extra curricula activities all our students get a lot of benefit and make progress just with their weekly lesson. If your child feels inspired to play or practise at home then naturally they will probably move ahead more quickly. The nature of our classes means we are well able to accommodate different rates of progress. Our group lessons are a special space for children in the rhythm of a school week. Away from the class and teacher, playing alone can seem daunting or unappealing. In our experience “forcing” children to practise (or even encouraging too strongly) can set up a negative association with music. It certainly isn’t productive for anyone to fight about it.
Having said all this, if your child can be gently encouraged to play their uke, it can be a good thing.
Here are some creative ideas to help kids who are willing to play or practise outside of their lesson time. One of the BEST features of the ukulele is that it is small and portable, and it can be played in many places with hardly any setting up! To help kids get more playing time during the week and enjoy their playing time, we suggest:
- TV practice – silent chord changing during the show and/or playing normally during ads. Bonus – this also means they are learning to multitask!
- Play during car trips – try popping the Uke4Kids Play-along CD in the CD slot. To and from school is ideal, even just listening to the songs for inspiration
- Play for parents during meal preparation. There’s nothing like having a bit of music to cook to
- Practise before bed – sleeping after any learning activity helps people to retain new information
- Play or practise for a bit before school – if too busy after school
- Use the Uke4Kids play-along CD for extra fun and structure. There is a track list at the back of the book.
- Drum machine apps can be downloaded for free or purchased for smart phones, tablets and PC’s. They not only make practising more fun but also help students practise difficult parts slowly and keep a steady beat. Organs and cheap electronic keyboards can often be used too
- Listen to interesting ukulele music; look up, listen to and watch ukulele songs and videos online. There is great and inspiring stuff out there!
- An adjustable music stand makes reading sheet music easier
- A clip-on electronic tuner helps keep the uke sounding nice between lessons – from most music shops or from us.
- A ukulele strap (the ones with hooks are easiest) make it easier to play standing up – these are about $10 from most music shops